Bob Browne is author of Sys-Tao, Western Logic ~ Eastern Flow, which outlines his application of the Deming Philosophy. (Learn more about Great Plains’ Deming transformation in this Deming Today profile.)
A Vietnam veteran and native Oklahoman with a top-notch education in the ways of traditional western businesses, Browne orchestrated a leveraged buyout of Great Plains Coca-Cola Bottling Company in 1980. For the ten years that followed, he successfully operated the company in those traditional western ways. But something wasn’t right. He began questioning many of the established principles of western management – motivation by incentive, management by objectives, and emphasis on shareholder wealth. With the Deming philosophy as his guidepost, Bob steered a cultural U-turn for Great Plains, all while driving the company to record profits and industry-leading customer and employee satisfaction. With characteristic humility, Browne attributes this transformation to “allowing the people of Great Plains to take charge of their own work, in an environment free of fear.” In 2012, Browne capped off his 32 years as CEO by selling Great Plains to The Coca-Cola Company. He lives in Oklahoma City with his wife, Karen. He has taught at the University of Oklahoma’s Price College of Business, as well as Oklahoma City University’s Meinders School of Business, and he continues to lecture on the subject of his book.